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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  January 19, 2013 12:15pm-12:40pm EST

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kept shut up all night. the next morning the general luggages on horseback with the hounds, is dependents, dog boys and huntsman all mounted around him in full hunting parade, the services to their edification in front of them all stand the mother of the child. the child is brought from the lockup, it is a gloomy foggy autumn day, capital day for hunting. the general orders the child to be undressed, the child is stripped naked, shivers not with terror, not daring to cry, make him run, commands the general. run, shot the dog boys, at emil's the general and sets the whole pack of hounds on the child, the hounds catch him and tear him to pieces before his mother's eyes. i am sorry. ivan goes on to explain how
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there may be an all powerful benevolent god and there may indeed finally be a future harmony which is achieved through human suffering but even if this is so and of course it is far from a sure thing, ivan says he would personally reject any harmonious conclusion that required the suffering of that 8-year-old. ivan doesn't say there is no god. just says that if his plan for us involve such horrors, he cannot and will not accept it and hand back the ticket. i was 18 when i first read this and my younger brother john, 15, had just died a short three weeks after being diagnosed with acute leukemia. for me, ivan karimov had it right. in this fictional encounter, had more influence on my life and all the condolences and family support and help in the world.
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i loved reading the brothers karimov of and found myself looking for help in everything i read. and mike braun ski in an actor read enough for his double may care attitude for paying bills. brodsky throws the ball in aid for and sits down to pay them three times a year. i learned the telephone company did not appreciate this point of view. still, with or without the bill paying, braunski's life was more vivid than mine and more vivid than the lives of my friends and he seemed as real as any character in a biography. so it was with book after book. i fell in love with small boats and sailing through swallows and amazons. my friends and i learned from caulfield in the catcher in the rye and of course there was
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poetry. i had more than one teacher whose religion was elliott's four quartets and we learned attitude from yates and the greek anthology. we wanted to come proud, overnight and laughing. i loved this epitaph of an ancient greek sailor. in the greek anthology translation by dudley fits, wonderful teacher, tomorrow the wind will have fallen, tomorrow i will be safe in arbor, tomorrow i said and death spoke in that little word, stranger, this is the nemesis of the spoken word, bite back the daring tongue that would say tomorrow. we marvel that keeps's ability to imagine what it would feel like to be a billiard ball rolling across the smooth table. we hundred for lives that had the emotional range of shakespeare's sonnets. if we were going to be saved we
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knew it would be by literature. there was a french historian who put it best for me as i tried in my mid 40s to turn from biography to life writing, history, you could think he meant to include biography and fiction, history, he said, is not a narrative, it is not analysis, it is a resurrection. this is some of what brenda wineapple has in mind. how you do it is another and more complicated matter and i will not try to get into that this morning, but bringing your subject back to life is a great and worthy goal. if i might quickly wrap up, to as rap hound's advice to make it new, we might also want to at and make it live again.
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thanks. [applause] >> we seem to be running a little early so we have time for questions. >> not a question, huge appreciation for you and what you just said. thank you very much. >> that is sweet. [applause] >> i am scooping myself the question i want to ask you in a session next weekend but why not seize the moment? first time i ever saw you and
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matt you was in 2003 in boston, mass. on the 200th birth day of ralph waldo emerson of whom you have written a marvelous book but it was a gathering of scholars, historians, critics, riders, told transcendental gained appreciating emerson from a , told transcendental gained appreciating emerson from a whole variety of angles and use the up in the middle of this meeting and said you wanted it known you don't analyze it more see him historically or do chemical tests on paper. i take him straight. i read them as arbuckle wallow. when he says -- uncle walt low.
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you can admire the line or run through any number of tests but you said i think he is telling me to trust myself and follow the gleam of light in your own mind from within, etc.. it seems to me that cuts through a lot of stuff we have been talking about, hearing about this weekend in the sense when all else fails we can take these riders straight. andwriters straight. and extreme remedy the possible. >> thank you. >> this is the most moving literature i have heard, push the right button. i have read all the books you
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suggested, and i will read them again. do you have any other suggestions for books we should read? >> if you haven't read the mall again read my wife's books, american childhood. [applause] >> nice, thank you. [applause] >> up next, the 2013 literary seminar in florida a panel called how far can the back take us, julie salomon and robyn bracken very sit down for an hour. >> good morning, key west. i am straight man to the stars and i hope the reader's friend.
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what a pleasure this weekend has been. time is running out. we have a lot of work to do. we are not going to talk about the posted topic exactly but these people, i have three sort of topic sentences i want to be sure we get to and i will throw them out right now. one has to do with the fact the we have a spending of time on the hostile biography. there are lots of them. and thompson's poisonous three volumes on robert frost from which people are still rehabilitating him. i think of clare bloom's book on philip roth and always wonder what in the world would tempt a person to declare war in book form against the lip roth? as a young man, hero worship in
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book about paul and in one of his own books, signed and ascribed, he founded in the used bookstore, shattered from his library. he wrote some videos, shadow, scathing piece in certain ways, examination of mentorship, then along came patrick french's book, authorized biography that made it look like a love note. toomey it gets at the question of the more obscure, neurotic, eventual, appropriating motives that draw a rider to write about -- about another rider. i would love to know about it. secondly the more i hear about riders writers in this group i
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thinking there are others who are conscious of the heroes but architects have their own hierarchy is. he was a fraud, he was an undiscovered genius, he was this, he was ruined by drink or whatever. a saxophonist definitely has a sense of inheritance and relationship, center fielders have it. i asked carol bloom the difference between wallace stevens's relationship to walt whitman, johnny damon's relationship to mickey mantle in the new york yankees center field or mickey mantle's relationship to joe dimaggio in center field. talk about anxieties of influence. no difference at all. the question is what is it about writers to think about these professions? plumbers think about joe on ninth street could really, really make that fitting, etc..
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or so and so couldn't. but i wanted to begin with my touchstone hear, he was teasing me the other day, she said what is this? it is all guys talking about guys. this is a moment to repair some of that because you have two guys and dolls if we can be loose about language, writing about other women, one in the form of fiction, one in the form of biography. what is this thing about guy writers getting into the lives of other guy writers. i want to know from the ladies what is involved with ladies getting involved in ladies's live, particularly, judith fetterman mentioned before she
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wrote about colette and isaac nivens and it was a glorious time and who said go for it. we need some stories about these people. to get it started, i looked at two things, what are female writers of serious purpose doing in these other women's lives and what do you see the guys doing in the big playpen of literary biography? >> first of all i am so excited to be called eightball after having a lot to drink every single night. i guess that is a girl thing. we walked over here this morning and you and i talked about this little bit yesterday. we were talking about how it is interesting, not meant as a
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criticism but an observation that when the guys talked about -- not all, but many talked about their work, they talked a lot about their own background and what brought them to this and why they wanted to do it and in great detail, all of which is incredibly interesting but when the women talked about it, they tended to talk about the work or about the person writing about and i started to think is this just a coincidence or is it a male/female attributes? i think about it a lot in terms of wendy wasserstein line when she wrote her play there we go again. that has been my obsession, thinking about in terms of her life that when she was at yale drama school her plays were dismissed by the powers that be because they were not of interest because they were not about big issues, they were about domestic issues.
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it is sort of like somehow when a man writes about their uncertainties about their manhood or about facing the world or their internal aims, it is interesting and psychologically meaningful and contained the world but when a woman doesn't she is being a winey bitch. so -- [applause] that is what happens first thing in the morning. >> i was thinking about on the wall -- in france there is a sign up and they're saying quick as you can, so feminist republican precursor on the wall, that is when i was thinking of writing my book. that is the person i need in my
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life. it is often at a time of vulnerability in your own life that you come across someone that is going to help you in a way so i think it was the size of her life and the variety of it, political commitment, involvement of politics today in france, also herself as the mother and a grandmother. she did everything and it was a time in my life are faulting capable of doing anything. that is why i probably focused in on george sand. the topic tends to come and find you. i didn't want to write about myself so i write fiction for that reason. the topic yesterday, something hidden in a novel which you told me you don't want people to new. it is not conscious but fiction
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riders circle around this thing which is being discussed by a column -- sorry. which i found very fascinating. there is always something that you don't want to be upfront about. i thought it was maybe english or woman or being of a certain age. when i first came to this country and couldn't believe the memoirs people rose about themselves. fiction -- about the terrible things, it is okay in america to go on about yourself more than it is in england. i was brought up not to. the roots of fiction may be there. i have a question i want to
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slide in, george -- she was very successful and a lot of things were more interesting in this century than in others but it was the life and the fact of somebody who broke convention, who went into the streets of paris wearing pants at a time when people didn't do that, who had lovers, who wrote for a living, politically involved, all that i found very impressive. i am currently writing about another dead french person but i am not going to -- [talking over each other] >> i want to make a note, two remarks mentioned just this morning. one from brenda lineapple about the job of recovery in aineappl the job of recovery inwineapple
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the job of recovery in a biography. of course, everyone is doing that but men would not say that, that they are about recovering something and women go to women's lives, or to married lives to find out deep down how to live. we are searching how to live up. i don't think most mail riders would say that. why are you studying graham greene? want to know how to live. it is a little too was? i don't know. >> i would say that is why we can't go into female lives as males. the point of being a rider is to trave lines of race, gender and history. if i write about a man like graham greene i am saying what about him, his life, how can he shined a searchlight into the
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dark so that i might not otherwise want to look at. defy am writing about emily dickinson who i love to write about i would have to call it fiction, secondly i would be thinking would she like me? how is that going to change things? how can i possibly be objective? there are two women who have written about him wonderfully. one is surely hazard, one of the most nuanced and accomplished novelists around, her and all the great fires was a great book of the century, but when she writes about that she turned a critical eye on him but also was recalled by him in certain ways. the level at which they didn't get on and she writes again and again the one thing missing in graham greene is tenderness. anyone who responds to the book feels that is the main quality distinguishing them. such honesty towards himself -- she could never in real life be the tenderness of graham greene.
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then gloria emerson, a tough-minded new york times war correspondent wrote one novel in her life but might as well have been a memoirs or biography. it was called loving graham greene. about a woman who met graham greene once, instantly took him as the beacon, a light and started praying to him and sending him letters and kissing letters before sending them to him and spending more time thinking about him than her own friends and family. so both of them were positioning themselves in a different way inevitably because of that difference in gender. is the attractive to me, am i attracted to him? you or i might not think that way. it is a different ball game. >> i want to mention that stay till next weekend. there is a glorious lineup of female on a biographer's and two biographers, one male and one female but also wonderful rider,
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linda mcgordon who has written about modesty and the women in henry james's life but also virginia woolf, emily dickinson, and more coming. and your turn, about sort of boy games to girl games, gender games in this landscape of biography. >> two things. lady gregory, i wrote a short book about lady gregory who was born in 1854 or 1852 and died in 1932. she is best known living in the shadow of the poet w. b. gates and being founder of the theater, everytime she is mentioned it is in terms of her relationship to w b yates and
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others who she helped. my book is called lady gregory's toothbrush. an unfortunate letter and the new york public library, rich people tended to write in bad handwriting i have found. it is about the riots in the abbey theatre and people who were rioting against the new play and she said it is both of us who use the toothbrush and those who don't. the interesting thing if you are writing about anyone, especially a woman born before some time in the 20th century, is to look at the struggle and look at the amount of self oppression and the first four years she was so
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careful, so ready to be in the shadows, and as a translator and her translation for example of a poem, ted hughes's favorite poem in the english language, came to translation only through a tremendous amount of dutiful slow work and learning gaelic which no one ever did and despised the language and decided to learn it, w b yates didn't do that. in her 40s she begins as a translator. could she not raise her first four years? they were wasted for her. she was brought up with only one book in the house, the good book, the bible. just to emerge as who she became, constant mixtures of


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